The Idyllwild area has trails to meet every need. From those seeking solitude, to backpackers, trail runners and mountain bikers, there’s a lot to enjoy out there! Here’s a list of just a few of our favorite trails:
Seeking Solitude? A section of the famous 2,650 mile PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) runs through our wilderness along the Desert Divide, perched along a ridgeline separating the gorgeous green meadows of Garner Valley on the west from the breathtaking arid desert views to the east. Several side trails lead up to the PCT from the valley floor and multiple small peaks line the trail on each side. A 15-minute drive south of town, these trails are hidden treasures.
One of my Desert Divide favorites is Cedar Springs Trail (Moderate, 1,350 ft. gain, 6.4 mi. round-trip). Nestled in a ravine just a mile off of the PCT, a hidden glen of towering cedars surrounds a fresh flowing spring. As you enter the cathedral of trees, the air becomes crisply cool, and the cold spring beckons, a welcome relief after a warm hike. Note: Be sure to bring enough water in warmer months! Best Seasons: winter, spring and fall.
Easygoing: For those who want to commune with nature, but prefer an easygoing, walk more suitable for handicapped and strollers, a 15-minute drive north of town on Highway 243 will take you to charming Lake Fulmor, a picturesque mountain lake surrounded by pines, a walkway encircles the water and picnic tables. Best Seasons: all year access.
Near and deer: Looking for something closer to town? Try Deer Springs Trail (Moderate, 1700 ft. gain, 7 mile round-trip) across from the Nature Center on Highway 243. The trail winds its way along a number of thickly forested ridges covered in pines and manzanita, crossing crystal clear seasonal streams along its way to breathtaking views from the top of the massive Suicide Rock. Best Seasons: spring, summer and fall.
Devil’s Slide (Moderate, 1600 ft. gain, five mile round-trip): Devil’s Slide is a popular hike with great views and access to a myriad of other high-country trails. It’s heavily traveled in the summer with a limited number of daily permits on the weekends. If you manage to grab one of the coveted permits, watch for the “Wishing Tree” about halfway up to Saddle Junction and try to throw a rock just right to make it into the hollow at the top of the old dead snag.
Once you reach Saddle Junction, you’ll have the choice of five trails. From a fern- lined journey down Willow Creek Trail, to the sun-dappled Tahquitz Meadow, and a sweeping 360-degree view from the fire lookout at Tahquitz Peak, you can’t go wrong! (Unless you don’t bring a map!) Best Seasons: spring, summer and fall.
Into mountain biking? We have some great trails for you! For resource conservation and safety, not every trail is open for mountain biking, so it’s a good idea to check with the local experts: The USFS Ranger Station can point you to mountain bike designated trails and our hometown bicycle shop, “The Hub” is a fountain of local information.
Know before you go: Before heading out on any hike, make sure to stop at the USFS Ranger Station for free trail permits, Adventure passes for parking ($5), hiking maps and current trail information are available from your friendly local rangers.